I. Valuable questions to ask yourself as you begin:
a. What is my purpose? What do I want to achieve with this paper? What one main point do I want my reader to understand?
b. Who is the audience? What tone should I use?
a. Remember to “hook” the reader with an anecdote, quotations, or rhetorical questions. Get your reader interested in your subject. See your handbook on different approaches to introductions.
b. Like all paragraphs in your paper, introductions should be well-developed. Avoid the one or two sentence intros.
c. Thesis statement should be clear. A thesis statement is an arguable claim or assertion, not a statement of fact. Make sure your thesis is narrow and focused. Narrative papers often do not have an explicit thesis in introduction.
III. Body of Paper
a. Each paragraph must have a topic sentence. The topic sentence refers to the thesis.
b. Support each topic sentence with adequate evidence and development (no less than four to five sentences per paragraph). Use:
1. personal experience
c. Think about the organization of your paragraphs:
1. chronology/time: narrative
2. space: description
3. order of importance: all types of papers
d. Make sure that you delete or edit sentences and paragraphs that do not support your thesis. Again, stay focused on your main topic.
a. Don’t repeat yourself; your conclusion is the
last thing your reader will read.
b. Leave your reader with something to think about—broaden the scope of paper.
c. You may re-state your main point, but don’t repeat your thesis word for word.
d. Ask rhetorical questions (as in the introduction).
e. See your handbook on different approaches to conclusion.
f. Does your paper answer the all-important “so what” question?
Other Things to Remember
1. Your handbook and your professor are valuable resources—use them.
2. Never turn in a paper for a grade that has not gone through at least three drafts.
3. Keep a list of vocabulary words you come across in your reading, and use them in your papers.
4. If you get stuck, freewrite or brainstorm. If this doesn’t help, do something else and come back to the paper later.
5. Always staple your papers.